The Weight of Hate

by A.M. Fontana

Ashok caught the ball and ran toward the makeshift goal line which consisted of two jagged rocks placed about ten feet apart from each other. I’m gonna git this smarty-pants, thought Tommy, him and his stupid glasses, and his good grades, and his smelly foreign food always stinking up the lunch room. Tommy’s palms found a place on Ashok’s mid-back, which, while good enough for the rules of two-hand touch, was not good enough for Tommy, who furtively followed through with greater-than-necessary force. Ashok stumbled once, stumbled twice, and finally fell toward the pitted cement, even as Tommy, realizing it had gone too far, grasped for, but missed, Ashok’s shirttails. An unearthly scream rattled the playground, and, when Ashok stood up, all nearby could see that his thumb had disappeared into his hand and was now, like an overstuffed garbage bag, sticking out under the skin just above the wrist. As the boys and two recess monitors rushed to Ashok’s aid, Tommy noticed that he was standing all alone, in the middle of the playground, and that the sun had dipped behind a single cloud in an otherwise clear sky; it was like God was telling him he’d been a bad boy.

6S

A.M. Fontana was raised in Michigan and now lives and writes in Southern California. He used to be a rock and roll journalist like that little punk in Almost Famous. He also co-wrote a Los Angeles tour guide. Outside of the literary world, he, alas, currently works in the legal field. (Click here to make a donation to A.M., half of which will support 6S.)